Jasper’s A&W helping end youth hunger through Mealshare program

·2 min read

Customers visiting Jasper’s A&W can contribute to the Jasper Food Bank via Mealshare, a Canadian national social enterprise operating across the country since 2012, with a goal of ending youth hunger.

A partnership with A&W Canada means one thousand A&W locations across the country are part of the program. Local A&W owner Nazir Chatur is happy to be giving back to the community.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down Mealshare’s partnerships but community spirit continues.

“The pandemic meant a number of businesses went down and Mealshare was definitely at risk for closing for good because we rely on the restaurant industry for fundraising,” said Shree Govindarajan, Edmonton community leader for Mealshare.

“A lot of existing partners had to put their partnerships on hold, or they closed. We still have our partner restaurants participating. The sister company of the Jasper Brewing Co., Campio Brewing Co., is participating.”

The program launched on Feb. 1 with Mealshare Mondays when customers can order a Cheddar Bacon Uncle Burger Combo and one meal will be provided to a youth in need.

In addition to Mealshare Mondays, customers can “Make it a Mealshare” by adding a dollar to their order any day of the week.

Govindarajan noted 80 per cent of the donation funds will go to the Jasper Food Bank. The other 20 per cent goes to their international partner charity, Save the Children Fund.

“This is because locally, meals cost more than a dollar, and internationally, meals are far less expensive,” she said.

“So we balance them out, providing more of our meals internationally with lower costs, but providing more of our financial support locally, where meals are more expensive. It ends up being that 80/20 split, and we are able to fulfill the branding of our Buy 1, Give 1 model.”

She added some program and administration costs come out of each dollar, but for every dollar received from restaurants, at least 70 cents goes directly to providing meals for youth in need through a partner charity. The funds are presented monthly to help support our charities’ ongoing program efforts.

“We’re excited about this partnership to spread our reach across the country, to reach our annual goal of 1.25 million meals,” Govindarajan added. “In Alberta we’re anticipating 241,200 meals.”

Customers can participate in-restaurant, through drive-thru or by using the mobile app.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh